Idris Elba is reportedly in final talks to play the villain in Hobbs and Shaw, the upcoming Fast and Furious spin-off movie. As the name implies, the film would star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in their Fast and Furious character roles, Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. The two began as rivals but began to team up in Fate of the Furious.
Variety reports that Elba will play the antagonist who forces the duo to work together. The script was penned by series architect Chris Morgan, and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch is set to direct. It’s slated to release on July 26, 2019.
Elba first gained widespread prominence for his turn on The Wire. While he’s known for playing more heroic characters like those in Thor: Ragnorok, The Dark Tower, and Pacific Rim, Elba has had some villainous turns too. He recently played the villain in Star Trek Beyond and voiced Shere Khan in the live-action The Jungle Book. He’s also been rumored to be under consideration to play the iconic character James Bond.
Universal has been looking for a way to put Dwayne Johnson in a starring role spin-off, given the popularity of his character. Fate of the Furious set up a natural vehicle for this to finally happen, given the buddy-cop chemistry with Statham. GameSpot’s Fate of the Furious review noted that the charisma of the characters, and Johnson in particular, carried the silly spectacle.